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Concern grows as child road deaths double

Road fatalities among children have doubled so far this year.

Alarming figures show that 13 children aged under 14 have died in the first eight months of the year on Irish roads.

It is a significant hike from last year's figures when six children lost their lives. A total of six of the children who died on our roads this year were pedestrians, six were car passengers and one was a quad bike user.

It is the third year in a row that child fatality figures have risen. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said: "The number of child casualties so far this year has already exceeded the total number of child deaths in 2013."

Some 262 children and infants have died on the roads over a 15-year period, the research from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) shows.

One-in-three children killed on the roads were not wearing a safety belt or appropriate restraint in the collision which cost them their lives. RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock warned that up to 75pc of car seats were not correctly fitted.

Although the research from the RSA has revealed there was an 89pc overall reduction in the number of children, aged up to 14, killed on Irish roads in the period 1997 to 2012, it warned there is a danger that this positive trend could be undermined with current statistics that show a rise in child fatalities this year.

It's figures were published as the RSA and Electric Ireland teamed up for the fifth year running to distribute 85,500 high visibility vests to every child starting school this year.

injured

The vests will be included in the RSA's 'Back to School' road safety packs, which will be sent to primary schools nationwide over the coming months.

The report showed that 262 children were killed and 1,115 were seriously injured on Irish roads between 1997 and 2012.

More boys than girls were killed on the roads, as 59pc of the children killed in this period were male. The peak time for child road deaths is between 4pm and 5:59pm, and during the summer months.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said: "The increase in child casualties on our roads this year is incredibly worrying, after many years of seeing year-on-year decreases.

"Attitudes to road safety are formed at a young age and we would urge parents and teachers to continue to prioritise teaching our youngest and most vulnerable road-users how to stay safe on the roads.

The figures come amid concern about the growing number of people dying on our roads.

So far this year, 125 people have died - up three on 2013, which was the first annual increase in seven years.

fdillon@herald.ie


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